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Drinkable History: Horrifying Authentic Techniques for 3000 Year Old Hard Cider, 1500 Year Old Mead, and 1000 Year Old Ale [Kindle Edition]

Cassandra Cookson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This isn’t a book about the artistry of modern homebrewing. It’s a rough, primitive, downright scary way to walk through the life of an ancient brewer. You won’t find modern clone recipes for creating flavors inspired by the ancient world. Instead, you’ll find the actual techniques people used 3000 years ago to make hard cider, 1500 years ago to make mead, and 1000 years ago to make ale. If you’re in the mood for some armchair archaeology, you can still brew this way today.

These are some of the oldest human recipes for alcohol. The cider predates the invention of steel. All of the techniques predate modern brewing. The ancients didn't have ways to measure specific gravity or alcohol content. They were more concerned with keeping bugs out and hoping their precious grains didn't rot before they fermented. It's humbling to learn how our ancestors brewed before the invention of fermenting chambers, airlocks, and all the modern conveniences which let people brew clean, clear, precise beers today.

This book walks you through all the intimidatingly horrifying techniques people used to make their everyday staff of life. They didn't just survive on alcohol made using techniques that make modern homebrewers cry into their carboys - they thrived. Without primitive brewing, modern civilization wouldn't exist. Water has always been dangerous. The process of boiling combined with the presence of alcohol transformed the potentially deadly water into safe, hearty hydration with a nice buzz as an added bonus. With a belly full of these fortifying brews, people created western civilization as we know. That might explain a lot.

This book is for foodies who wonder how people managed to make the epic quantities of alcohol that fueled the growth of western civilization. Most people from ancient times through the Industrial Revolution drank morning, noon, and night.

In the spirit of authenticity, you’ll not only learn how to make your own hard cider, mead, and ale, but also how to make both yeast and malt from scratch. If you're ever accidentally flung back in time you'll be well equipped to console yourself with a hardy, fortifying drink. Here in the present, grab a nice, cold modern beer and get ready to read something that'll make you grateful to be alive today. This isn't brewing. It's Drinkable History.

Product Details

  • File Size: 111 KB
  • Print Length: 18 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008A6Y1Y2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the reviews are unfair August 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In my opinion, some of the 1 star reviews for this book are unfair. The author doesn't really seem to be marketing this book as an actual how-to guide. If he/she were, then I would say the reviews are spot on, because even though millions of Vikings survived these brewing techniques, our modern palates and stomachs wouldn't survive.

No, the author says this book is a "drinkable history", and gives HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS of ANCIENT TECHNIQUES of how these things were made. In that regard, the book is very well researched, well written, and well done. I am not a home brewer, but I do dabble in some fermenting, which I think these ancient recipes were more of, as opposed to actual brewing. The title of the book even says the techniques are "horrifying" which to me doesn't seem to be suggesting that you rush home from the book store and try them.

As far as writing, research and such, the book is very well done, but I wouldn't be using this book as an actual cookbook.

*I actually added one star to this review to average out the 1 star reviews. The book states right in the description that it was a HISTORY - it is NOT a "how-to" guide, and people are slamming it based on it being a bad brewing book. It IS NOT a brewing book, it is a HISTORY or how brewing/fermenting USED TO BE DONE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drinkable History July 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Coming from the viewpoint of an amateur scientist, I found this book very enjoyable and informative. This is practical microbiology from the grass roots up! The author makes it clear from the outset that this is raw fermentation the way our ancestors used it, and as such is not for the amateur beer maker. There are no boutique yeast strains here, but if you read carefully you can begin to see how to find your own. And you can drink to your successes along the way!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not so horrifying June 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very short read on presumably authentic techniques for preparing beverages that slaked thirst when water was regularly too dangerous to drink. The author provides a few modern shortcuts and substitutions for those so inclined. I wasn't paying attention to the stated length of the book (if it is listed), but it is only a few minutes' worth of food history reading. Could have done without the comments about what the modern home brewer would say, and would have appreciated more of the history and maybe some regional variations. But overall, the author delivers what she promises, which is an overview of how things were done back in the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and Dirty. January 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book for what it is—a history on fermented beverages. The author is very explicit about the fact that this book is not a "How to Brew" kind of book, but rather how to get your feet wet in the world of fermenting. The recipes in the book are quite simple and follow old-world techniques for making fermented beverages. As a homebrewer with a couple of years experience, I see this book as a way to allow me to break away here and there from the modern techniques of brewing and have a little fun experimenting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Almost worthless August 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are much of a homebrewer, know a homebrewer, or know much of anything about fermentation, this book is just repeated information you've gathered from other sources. I was hoping for some sort of bibliography or source information as to where the author acquired the barebones recipies in the book but none was presented. Several parts of the book are given as fact when they are just the author's opinion. The book is much more of an editorial than research piece.

I understand that the title was used to generate sales, but if you know anything about how beer is made, none of this is even surprising, let alone horrifying.

The one thing that kept it from being completely worthless was the bit about how to capture and "breed" your own wild yeast strains.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, the book will be unlikely to present you with any new information.
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This is a fun read, even if you're not intent on brewing anything. It is a look at brewing different beverages in the way they did it WAY back when. In the very beginning of the book it says these are horrible drinks compared to what we drink today and they should not be brewed with results in mind, or be brewed at all. To the people complaining like this is a recipe book I wonder if they even read the intro pages.
In any event, I feel bad for my ancestors!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money September 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have trouble believing a book that calls itself "historic" or "authentic" without citing research sources. The information in this book is more of an argument from ignorance fallacy rather than an actual historic account.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable informative read May 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is a very short and packed with information on the methods used by our ancestors to brew a verity of alcoholic beverages. A fun read would liked to have had more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read...
I loved the crazy old recipes, but I will probably be using the safe modern-day recipes at our house. Enjoy!
Published 8 months ago by M. P. Schwab
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice look into drinking's past
As a home brewer, I found this to be a fun and interesting essay into how things were done in ancient times. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Hikes in Rain
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting but short
easy to read and I will certainly try one or more of the recipes. but I was hoping for a bit more.
Published 11 months ago by DaveFromRichmond
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is interesting, short, and holds my attention.
This book is interesting, short, and holds my attention.
I am a homebrewer and made the Old English Alewive's Ale by the recipe provided, at day 6, it not very good. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chris Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars FREE
This was a free book that was recommended by a book club I follow on FaceBook. Im not sure it is free anymore.
Published 13 months ago by kris t
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
It is clear and concise with great examples and easy to understand. Cleared up several questions I had regarding brewing Mead at home as well as gave me great ideas for new... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars why not?
it's getting harder and harder to imagine the past..... i grew up in the fifties and i teach young adults who wouldn't recognise my world back then. Read more
Published 20 months ago by firao
5.0 out of 5 stars Historic account
I really liked this glimpse into the past. I found it to be an interesting account of ancient brewing technics. Many people were disappointed because it wasn't full of recipes. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mark Fifer
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